It was a whirlwind tour: Chicago, Houston, Atlanta, back to Chicago, then Detroit, DC, St. Louis and many places in between all in nine weeks time. Tear gassing rioters, shooting looters one day, handing out bottled water and freeze dried chicken nuggets to serfs the next.
At least “chicken” was what it said it was on the foil packets with the blue eagles on them. With the supply chain disintegrating under the tenfold increase in fuel prices and the interventions of the pernicious, meddling bureaucrats; the Federal Government was finally forced to take drastic action. The “Agriculture and Food Processing Stabilization Act” was drafted by a consortium of Big Ag corporations, passed by Congress and signed into law by the President eight hours after it was written. Never let a good emergency go to waste! Partnering with the USDA, the FDA and ATF goons, the Big Ag cartel established “compacts” and “exchanges”, to be run by them of course, through which all the nation’s foodstuffs were required to pass. The Big Ag executives got filthy, filthy rich, the congressmen got massive donations, and the family farmers who sold their eggs and milk and beef off the licensed exchanges were arrested.
Marzan and Rollins bulldozed a couple farm houses and ‘euthanized’ a few ‘unlicensed’ herds with their flamethrowers. One morning they slaughtered a poultry farm’s chickens and bulldozed them into a hole, handed out freeze dried chicken rations to starving serfs at noon, then took shots at those very same serfs later that night.
How ungrateful these people are, Rollins thought.
Marzan was growing increasingly physically ill about everything. Every time he hopped out of his Humvee into some farm or trailer park or urban ghetto he would get nauseous. He had managed up to that point to avoid shooting anyone by purposefully mis-aiming but this just made him feel guilt. He was letting down his unit and his brothers by his actions but he could not bring himself to shoot Americans.
The NCOs would decry the evils of the “Domestic Combatants”, or “Docoms” for short, while beating his chest like an ape. “They are NOT Americans. They are insurgents! Smoke them motherfuckers!” The NCO knew he needed to provide a little authoritative dehumanization to get his mercenary tools to forget they were actually in America and not Talibanistan anymore.
For the tormented Jimmy Marzan, it was as if he was walking the edge of a razor wire spanning an abyss between the anchors of mindless mercenary and oath keeper. He did recall taking an oath at induction and it was becoming very difficult to reconcile the idea that he had to invade, occupy and kill Americans in order to defend American freedom. The more he thought about it the less inclined he was able to believe that he had ever actually defended any American’s freedom…ever. Smokin’ all those little brown people seemed to have zero benefit unless one counted the money the defense contractors made on the whole bloody enterprise.
The longer Jimmy balanced on that wire between those points, the deeper the razor began to cut. He prayed ten times a day that things would just settle down before the anguish and insanity would force him to one point or the other. It had been two months since that first Chicago riot and there was no end in sight.
Rollins, on the other hand, rather enjoyed himself. To him, the domestic adventure was something akin to a rock and roll tour. The mobs of hungry, unemployed, enraged citizens played the part of the fans. The Docoms had come to see, hear and feel the spectacle unleashed by Rollins’ rock and roll M4.
His worshipful throng was willing to die for him and at least three had given their life so far. Rollins never lost a moment’s sleep over any of it. He was a true mercenary. Bulls fan with his chest blown out. That dumbass back in Houston that died so serenely…in a bloodless crumple, life extinguished by a ricochet from Rollins’ warning shot. A tiny fragment of uranium lodged in the noggin…instant death. The third one…some dumbass cracker with a Fu Man Chu and a commie Che Guevera shirt, that poor bastard cradled his intestines for at least fifteen minutes before bleeding out.
“All hail Rollins!” Spaketh Rollins, “God of Thunder and Rock and Roll”.
‘Docom’ might have been the official term for unruly civilians but the grunts devised a slew of slurs to describe them. A popular and particularly degrading name adopted by the black troops was “niggs”. Black, white, Latino, Asian, it mattered naught. They were all “niggs”. It was far more vile than the innocuous-sounding “Docom”. The NCOs initially encouraged its use with boisterous affirmation. The COs encouraged its use by omission of protestation. How could a word become so powerful? Its power lay not in its ability to injure the victim as bullets do infinitely more damage than vile words. No, its power came from its ability to anesthetize the assailant from his empathy for the assailed. But evenutually the white guys started using it and racial tensions began to escalate. The word was banned on the grounds that it was “insensitive” to call Americans “niggs” before shooting them. Rollins loved it and continued using it on everyone in every conceivable circumstance, even describing his sister as his “nigster”.
Marzan never adopted the mercenary colloquialisms. But he did everything else he could to keep up the soldierly pretense. He often joked with the brotherhood about “smokin’ those Docoms” but it always came out clunky and made him feel even more like a fraud. He didn’t feel connected to his unit much at all anymore. The razor’s edge was cutting deeply.
They spent Christmas Eve at a Marriot. They just pulled up to the front door in their Humvees and MRAPS and walked right in, in fatigues and all, took over a floor, cleaned out the bar and proceeded to destroyed the place. Who was the manager going to call? The police? And risk getting labeled as someone who ‘hates the troops’? No way. Just smile and do what you’re told. The next morning the manager found a note stroked by a Sergeant telling him who to call about getting a “reimbursement”. The Army’s notion was that money could paper over any sin. That’s how they operated in Talibanistan: bulldoze a house, kill a goat, mistakenly drop a cluster bomb on a wedding reception. Sorry ‘bout that. Here’s a stack of Benjamins that’ll make everything all right.
Five days after Christmas they drove west from St. Louis on I70. Rumor was they were headed to Denver and that there was going to be some real action. Colorado’s Governor had just resigned under pressure from DC. The Lieutenant Governor was much more in tune with the DC progrom but Ms. Norton who was widely held to be an apparatchik quickly lost control of the situation.
The ‘Sunstein Agents’ (aka spies) had uncovered a fomenting nullification movement and the snoops, snitches and worms trolling the net had gleaned details of a major anti-DC rally that was going to erupt on New Year’s Day.
Welfare serfs burning cars and smashing windows in the name of getting their handouts was a somewhat palatable expression of frustration to the DC leviathan but openly challenging the Fed’s hegemony was not to be tolerated…anywhere. Secessionist protests were potentially flammable and, if not utterly crushed by military force, might trigger a flash fire of nationwide revolt. There was no way DC was going let that happen. No way.
This was to be the Domestic Security Force’s Superbowl as the real Superbowl had been canceled. But then again, every DSF engagement had been a “Superbowl” up to this point, or so said the officers. The stakes seemingly increased with each successive engagement.
Their convoy rumbled down I70, completely commandeering the left lane. Any civilian vehicle brazen enough or unwitting enough to occupy that lane was run off the road. The DSF procession was right out of Caesarian history. It took the United States more than a century to conquer the vast continent. It tool decades of cavalry, liquor, gulags and barbed wire to finally wipe out the resistance of stone-aged natives to finally secure Manifest Destiny. The Indians just didn’t have the technology or the numbers of the cohesion to win yet they fought like hell for a century for their lives and lands. America is a big and often inhospitable place. Even Admiral Yamamoto, in perhaps the finest endorsement of the Second Amendment ever, shied away from the prospect of invading a nation with a “rifle behind every blade of grass.”
But now Rollin’s own unit was poised to subdue the continent in all of six months. Yamamoto didn’t have air support, infra red, a fifty cal or an enemy disarmed by the “Firearms Security Act”. Like the Indians before them, the neo-natives were at a terrible technological disadvantage. It’s the same old thing. Things never, never, never change. If you ever hear someone say “This time things will be different” you’ll instantly know that they are either a charlatan or a useful idiot.
The convoy crossed the invisible Rubicon of the Colorado State Line. Most of the DSF’s soldiers were from the south, the rust belt or the coastal ghettos. The space and loneliness of the windswept prairie gave them time to think which wore them down a little mentally. Then they entered the snows of the high Colorado steppe. It was dry and cold and treeless and desolate, white from horizon to horizon under a cloudless blue sky and a blinding white sun. They might as well have been invading the moon with all its starkness. No one in the unit other than PFC Tjaden from North Dakota had ever been in such a landscape. Trees or concrete or blazing sand was all these grunts ever knew.
Marzan thought for a moment how the Germans must have felt gobbling up thousands of square miles of Russian nothingness in the early days of Operation Barbarosa and wondering how it could possibly be worth it to conquer so much nothingness. That endeavor didn’t end so well for sie Germans when the winter came and their diesel fuel to jello and their toes turned black. God forbid we run out of fuel, Marzan thought. At least they could see anyone coming from three miles away.
They arrived at midnight along with the clouds that filled in the sky and blotted out the stars and moon. They set up at DIA. By morning, the snowflakes started to swirl round, whipped about on the wind, never seeming to touch the ground. It was god damn cold. Rumors were swirling round, too. Militias were forming. Police units were ambushed. National Guards were defecting. Government offices were over-run and burned to the ground. The words “civil” and “war” connected together in a contemporary context for the first time in a hundred and fifty years. Perhaps “civil war” was the wrong term. “Civil war” implies a struggle control of a government. This sounded more like people just wanting to be left alone.
It was all very exciting for Rollins. Shooting up some niggs armed with pea shooters in a burning ghetto was getting dull and video-gamey. He wanted a more dangerous challenge. Marzan, on the other hand, spent the morning vomiting. He blamed it on altitude sickness.